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O Pagador de Promessas

O Pagador de Promessas
Original poster in Portuguese
Directed by Anselmo Duarte
Produced by Oswaldo Massaini
Written by Anselmo Duarte
Based on O Pagador de Promessas 
by Dias Gomes
Starring Leonardo Villar
Glória Menezes
Norma Bengell
Dionísio Azevedo
Music by Gabriel Migliori
Cinematography H.E. Fowle
Edited by Carlos Coimbra
Distributed by Cinedistri
Release dates
  • August 6, 1962 (1962-08-06)[1]
Running time
98 minutes
Country Brazil
Language Portuguese

O Pagador de Promessas (Portuguese pronunciation: [u paɡaˈdoʁ dʒi pɾoˈmɛsɐs], The Payer of Promises[2]) is a 1962 Brazilian drama film directed by Anselmo Duarte. Duarte adapted the screenplay himself from the famous stage play written by Dias Gomes. Shot in Salvador, Bahia, it stars Leonardo Villar.[1]

It won the Palme d'Or at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival,[3] becoming the first (and to date the only) Brazilian film to achieve that feat. A year later, it also became the first Brazilian and South American film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


Zé do Burro (Leonardo Villar) is a landowner from Nordeste. His best friend is a donkey. When his donkey falls terminally ill, Zé promises to a Candomblé orisha, Iansan, that if his donkey recovers, he will give away his land to the poor and carry a cross all the way from his farm to the Saint Bárbara Church in Salvador, Bahia, where he will offer the cross to the local priest. Upon the recovery of his donkey, Zé leaves on his journey. The movie begins as Zé, followed by his wife Rosa (Glória Menezes), arrives outside the church. The local priest (Dionísio Azevedo) refuses to accept the cross once he hears about Zé's "pagan" pledge and the reasons behind it. Everyone attempts to manipulate the innocent and naïve Zé. The local Candomblé worshippers, for example, want to use him as a leader against the discrimination they suffer from the Roman Catholic Church. The sensationalist newspapers transform his promise to give away his land into a "communist" call for land reform (which still is a very controversial issue in Brazil). When Zé is shot by the police to prevent his way into the church, the Candomblé worshippers put his dead body on the cross and force their way into the church.

Main cast

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Cannes Film Festival

Cartagena Film Festival

  • Special Jury Prize – Anselmo Duarte (won)

San Francisco International Film Festival[5]

  • Golden Gate Award for Best Film – Anselmo Duarte (won)
  • Golden Gate Award for Best Musical Score – Gabriel Migliori (won)

See also


  1. ^ a b "O Pagador de Promessas" (in Portuguese). Cinemateca Brasileira. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ The title translates literally as The Payer of Promises, but the film has been known by several other names in the Anglosphere, such as Keeper of Promises, The Given Word and The Promise.
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: O Pagador de Promessas". Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  4. ^ "The 35th Academy Awards (1963) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  5. ^ "Keeper of Promises". Retrieved December 11, 2014. 

External links